05 Aug 2008

MPSC will not be holding a skywatching session for the Perseid shower this year since moonlight will interfere during our usual session hours.

Good times to see the Perseids this year will be between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 12th and the mornings immediately before and after.

You are likely to see the highest number of meteors between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on the 12th. Depending on how dark your skies are, you may see up to 75 meteors per hour.

Before the Moon sets around 2 a.m., the Moon’s light will wash out the dimmer meteors. After 5 a.m. the sky will begin to brighten with the rising Sun.

I recommend rising about 4 a.m. on August 12th, taking a lawn chair, blanket, and thermos of hot chocolate (and bug spray) to a place with a wide view of the sky. Choose a location away from city lights if possible. You don’t need binoculars, just your eyes. Settle in and stay awhile. Enjoy the show.

A meteor will look like a fast streak of light in the sky. Also known as “shooting stars,” meteors are caused when small bits of cosmic debris enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds.

You can find more detailed information at the American Meteor Society’s website: http://www.amsmeteors.org

Mickey Jo Sorrell is Morehead's planetarium educator.

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